A Hamburg teenager has been arrested in connection with a vandalism spree that damaged the Frontier Central School District’s fleet of buses over the weekend, Town of Hamburg police announced Monday evening.
Andrew Lathrop, 18, whom Frontier officials said had dropped out of school, has been charged with burglary, criminal mischief and
criminal tampering. Police said they were able to identify Lathrop through video security surveillance at the school. He was questioned Monday afternoon, and was in police custody awaiting arraignment Monday evening.
Damage to the buses forced school officials to cancel all classes in the district Monday.
“It looks like at least 10 buses were affected,” Town of Hamburg Police Capt. Kevin A. Trask said. “But a final inventory hasn’t been done yet.”
Interim School Superintendent Paul G. Hashem said that he originally was informed that 90 percent of the buses had been damaged but believed it was “more like 50 percent.” The district has a fleet of 96 buses, 90 of which are in service at any time, Hashem said.
Sometime between late Friday night and 5 a.m. Monday, someone forced open a lock box on the fenced-in staging area and then broke windows, deployed fire extinguishers and spray-painted messages on various buses. Those messages included obscenities, obscene images and at least one youth-gang reference, authorities said.
Hashem said the construction site for a new high school library and media center also was painted with graffiti. Damages to the buses and building were estimated at about $8,900. Hashem noted that most of the buses were repaired Monday and that classes would resume as usual this morning.
Noting that “with every crisis comes an opportunity,” Hashem added that the district is taking several security measures in response to the vandalism.
Cameras will be installed in the bus staging area to place it under direct video surveillance, he said, and bus drivers will be required to remove fire extinguishers from their vehicles at the end of the day, as well as their route sheets, which provide them with detailed instructions. Route sheets left on the buses were torn up during the incident.